Climate change challenging, there is an urgent need to act: Kerala CM Vijayan 

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Monday that responding to climate change is challenging but its impact can be minimised with increased efforts in terms of planning, mitigation, and adaptation measures.

Vijayan was speaking at the inaugural session of the maiden Kerala State Climate Change Stakeholders’ workshop organised by the Institute of Climate Change Studies (ICCS).

He said, “In the last five years, Kerala has witnessed an increase in extreme weather events. Heavy rainfall caused floods and landslides affected the livelihoods of the locals.”

Kerala, like any other Indian state, is experiencing effects of climate change, said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director-general of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

“Kerala is experiencing an increase in the heavy rainfall events. Though the total amount of rainfall which the state receives has not changed, its distribution during the monsoon season has,” said Mohapatra.

Adding to the weather vagaries is Kerala’s physiography, making the state prone to lightning, thunderstorms and heavy rainfall, the IMD chief said.

“After northeast India, Kerala reports the highest lightning events. Improved weather forecasting has helped reduce loss of life due to heat or coldwave, but deaths caused by lightning strikes and heavy rainfall events are increasing. That is why there is a greater need to understand the science and study changes in smaller geographical areas,” Mohapatra said.

Stating the erratic rainfall that the southern state has experienced in recent years, Vijayan said such extreme weather had crippled agriculture, health and the overall socio-economic and development of Kerala.

“There is an urgent need to act and it is our responsibility to plan mitigation measures to reduce the struggles faced by the common people. The state government will await the policy statement for climate change prepared by the ICCS and adopt best suggestions,” the chief minister said.

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